Beware The Tarrasque

Written 2 July 2003

talysman <talysman at> wrote:

if you think that supervoracious burrowing turtles are bad, you should check out the tarasque -- essentially the pseudomedieval fantasy equivalent to a giant rubber japanese monster, emerging every few months to devour a few villages. I mean, 840 hit points! THE HELL? 50 feet tall? this thing can hold two bulettes in its mouth! IYKWIM!

and then both bulettes would jump up and kick out the monster's teeth.

I'm checking out the Tarrasque's stats at <>. I think this critter was invented so that DMs would have an excuse to kill off all the seventy jillion level characters with quarterstaffs of nuclear disarmarment and whatnot and start over from scratch. Let's see.

Rush (Ex). Once per minute, the normally slow-moving tarrasque can move at a speed of 150 feet.

Immediately we see the problem. Our adventurors arrive at the burned-out remnanats of the inn to get what information about the beastie they can from the local inhabitants. "Well, one thing I've noticed," says the barkeep, "is that it doesn't move very fast. I might even call it sluggish!"

Heartened, the adventurors troupe off. An hour later, the party's cleric returns minus a couple of limbs, looking behind him with terror. "I thought you said that thing was slow!" he screams at the barkeep. "Well, it is, normally," says the barkeep, "but about once a minute it suddently starts going really fast. I guess I should have mentioned that. Say, is that a little steering wheel sticking out of your crotch?"

Another thing the Tarrasque can do is swallow you and a few friends. Well, seven friends, if you're all 'normal sized', which, despite what your friends may have told you, you probably are, by D&D standards. Once you're swallowed, you start getting damaged in several obvious ways, but all is not lost:

A swallowed creature can cut its way out by dealing 50 points of damage to the tarrasque's digestive tract (AC 20).

Armor class 20? That's some slammin' peristalsis, dude. I'm interested to notice that the 50 points of damage don't have to be done by edged weapons or anything; you could smash your way out with a club, or thwack a hole in the beastie's side using your Vorpal Staff of Thwapping, or use some nifty martial arts moves to get your way out -- messy, but effective.

Once you're out, there's a big old hole in the side of the Tarrasque's gut, which has got to be a problem for it, right? Well, maybe not:

Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

Yes, that's right, muscular action. The Tarrasque has a gigantic Nautalus machine in its lair that keeps its seventy billion gastric muscles all toned up and ready on the off-chance that some idiot will manage to hack his or her way through its stomach wall. Can't be bad!

Talysman mentioned that the Tarrasque has 840 hit points. He didn't mention that its armor class is 35 (-15 old system), but that almost goes without saying. However, things weren't quite hopeless enough, so the game designers decided to make it regenerates 40 hit points per turn, or round, or whatever it is -- I can never tell these things apart. Another nice touch along these lines:

If the tarrasque loses a limb or body part, the lost portion regrows in 1d6 minutes (the detached piece dies and decays normally). The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to the stump.

So remember, cut off BOTH its arms.

As far as how much damage it does, I would just take it as read that it does a lot, in many different ways (it has horns and teeth and claws and all that stuff), and a decent amount of time it does even more damage that it normally would, because it's so good at killing people that it gets an 'augmented critical' bonus. Which seems only fair -- it needs to have a totally ridiculous attack to go with its utterly ludicrous defenses or else game balance would suffer, and of course we can't have that.

So you're attacking this critter, and it keeps mauling you, and it's difficult for you to maul it back, and it keeps trying to swallow you. To me, this would mean that it is a good time to send some nice magical attacks at it from as far away as possible. That seems reasonable, right?

Once again, the game designers are way ahead of you and have made sure that anything clever you try will merely hasten your doom:

The tarrasque's armorlike carapace is exceptionally tough and highly reflective, deflecting all rays, lines, cones, and even magic missile spells. There is a 30% chance of reflecting any such effect back at the caster; otherwise, it is merely negated. Check for reflection before rolling to overcome the creature's spell resistance.

Well, not much to add there.

So let's say you've gone the distance. Somehow, you've managed to inflict 840 points of damage on the Tarrasque, plus whatever hit points it's regenerated along the way, and it's DEAD DEAD DEAD. Time to head back to town for some mead!

But as you start to pack up:

No form of attack deals normal damage to the tarrasque. The tarrasque regenerates even if disintegrated or slain with death magic: These attack forms merely reduce it to -10 hit points. It is immune to effects that produce incurable or bleeding wounds, such as a sword of wounding, mummy rot, or a clay golem's wound ability.

OK, so killing it reduces it to -10 hit points, but it regenerates 40 hit points per whatever, so you have ... let's see ... about ten seconds before it gets up and starts biting you again. Use that time wisely and get the hell away!

I would actually like to see something regenerated from being disintegrated, but not from too close. You gotta figure it will be kind of pissed off.

Actually, I shouldn't say that you absolutely can't kill a tarrasque, because it says here you can:

The tarrasque can be permanently slain only by reducing it to -30 hit points and using a wish or miracle spell to keep it dead.

So after you kill it you continue to whale on it before it manages to regenerate itself back to life -- that's got to be pretty therepeutic! -- and then someone with a wish spell and ten years of life to spare wishes it were dead forever, and it's gone. Huzzah! You've won! And what have you won, you ask? Well:

Treasure:       None

The satisfaction of a job well done, I guess, and the memory of the look on the DM's face when he realizes that he didn't manage to kill you all after all.

This was something random written by Jacob Haller. To see another random thing, click here. To get a permanent link to this particular random thing, click here.



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